Our Georgia History

Byrd-Mathews Lumber plant, Helen, Georgia
May 5, 1931 The Morse Brother (Byrd-Mathews) saw mill in Helen, Georgia closes.
  Byrd-Mathews Lumber plant, Helen, Georgia

For almost 20 years northeast Georgia fueled the lumber needs of the Midwest through this sawmill, the largest mill in the state. There were others, including the Gannett Brothers and The Vogels, who cut thousands of acres of Georgia forest, but it was the Byrd-Mathews plant that employed the most people and cut the most lumber. From the Tallulah River watershed to Blood Mountain, and stretching into North Carolina, Byrd-Mathews employees, called "wood hicks" in the jargon of the day, would send trees to the plant via the Chattahoochee River or a short line railroad built by the company.

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